Now that the 2010 Legislative Session is adjourned and legislators are home in their districts, AARP wants you to know how the issues you care about fared during the legislative process.
As our elected officials debated how to balance the state budget, AARP voiced concerns about the potential impacts of policy changes on older Minnesotans.
Thousands of AARP members across the state weighed in by calling, writing, emailing or visiting their legislators to express concerns about potential budget cuts - or to urge passage of sound policies.
Top Priority: Protecting Long-term Care
AARP’s top priority throughout the session was to maintain adequate funding and consumer protections for long-term care services that elderly Minnesotans rely on – both in nursing homes and in their homes and communities. We urged Governor Pawlenty and legislators to:
- continue support for nursing homes and home and community based services in the budget process
- maintain the current rate equalization law for nursing home residents
We are extremely pleased that in the final agreement there were no across the board budget cuts to long-term care services. Nursing home residents and those who receive care in their homes were protected from cuts. We are also please that the current law on rate equalization is maintained. This important law ensures that all nursing home residents are given the same quality care and prevents those who pay their own way from experiencing drastic increases in costs.
AARP also advocated for legislation to enact sound policies that impact older Minnesotans. We urged legislators to:
- protect consumers who purchase reverse mortgages
- institute a statewide Complete Streets Policy
- reform prescription drug laws
Legislation to encourage local communities to plan for road networks that are safer, more livable, and welcoming to people of all ages, was enacted. The Governor signed the “Complete Streets State Policy” (HF 2807/SF 2540). This was bipartisan legislation supported by a broad coalition of groups concerned about safer roads for all.
And, an important law to protect older consumers who purchase reverse mortgages (HF 2699/SF 2430) was also enacted.
Legislation to reduce conflicts of interest between providers and pharmaceutical companies and thereby lower costs and increase quality of prescription drugs for consumers was debated but not enacted this year. AARP will continue to work with legislators on enacting these reforms.
“Minnesotans from across thes state weighed in on these issues – and were heard this session,” said AARP State Director Michele Kimball. “We look forward to continuing to work with legislators on ways to improve the lives of older Minnesotans and their families.”